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up next on a second look, the rugged and highly trained mountain battle force that helped turn the tide of world war ii. the battle against avalanches in the sierra and how triggering small ones can prevent big ones. a woman who lived five days buried in the snow after a disastrous avalanche hit a sierra ski resort. and the story behind the california ski resort that was home to the winter olympics all straight ahead tonight on a second look. good evening and welcome to
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a second look. i'm julie haener. tonight the joys and dangers of skiing. for one group of american soldiers in world war ii skiing was not a sport it was a means for waging war. in 2001, ktvu's bob mackenzie brought us the story of the legendary tenth mountain division. >> reporter: in their time they were legendary soldiers. the men of the tenth mountain division could ski, climb mountains, use stealth and hit hard and fast. >> i think it was the best fighting force, it was the only fighting force that i experienced and i can't imagine any fighting force being any better. >> reporter: 60 years later some of the tenth mountaineers
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get together. sometimes they tell war stories sometimes as a way as exorcises the ghost. >> when we passed him, his brains were just laying out on the ground it was a horrible sight. >> reporter: in 1939 at the outbreak of world war ii, adolph hitler began conquering the nations one by one. when president roosevelt enforced the idea of the fighting force the newly formed tenth mountain division began to train. most were college men already skiers or mountain climbers, athletes by inclination and many had the naive idea that the training was going to be fun. >> you had to learn to cope with the altitude first off. when you first got there you tried to run a block and you
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were gasping for air. >> reporter: climbing a 13,000- foot mountain carrying a 100- pound pack living outdoors for eight days in temperatures of 40 below zero. >> training was extremely rigorous. so rigorous that really when we got into combat in terms of weather conditions and things it was like soup. >> reporter: by the time training was done, every man flew -- knew how to climb a mountain, how to live outdoors for days at a time and how to put up a tent. particularly formittable was reba ridge. but the natzi troops weren't expecting cat burglars. hiding during the day and moving at night. a battalion sneaked its way to
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the base of the mountain as darkness fell one evening they began to climb. they had to go up in single file, sitting ducks if they had been discovered. they climbed through the night and reached the ridge at dawn. german centuries couldn't see them. they took the germans by surprise and took the ridge. other men had to fight their way up the hills a foot at a time. hill remembers taking a platoon of men and being attacked by 14 german soldiers. >> we fought that platoon and won and captured them all. i think that was typical of our unit. we severely wounded the officer and the moral of the german. fell apart and those we didn't kill or injured we had as
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prisoners. >> reporter: after taking the -- headed toward the alps. >> there was a group of germans coming up and i had a bar, brownny and automatic rifle. you could fire it single shot or squeeze off 20 rounds very quickly. and i spotted these soldiers coming up and i know i killed three and it may have been as many as five or six. and you often wonder but it was either them or me and there really wasn't any choice. >> reporter: his mountain division went in advance of much larger american forces and spear headed the campaign that took italy and forced a german retreat. of the 14,000 men in the tenth mountain, more than 4,000 were wounded and almost 1,000 were killed. >> i think both the tenth mountain division and the
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marine corp. and many other units were just outstanding and i'm proud of them. still to come tonight on a second look. the story of how the winter olympics came to be held at a tiny lake tahoe ski resort. and a bit later why it makes sense to start an avalanche in order to stop an avalanche.
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more than a half century ago a sierra ski resort was the site for the winter olympic games. that place was squaw valley. in 1960, squaw valley was a little more than a decade old and before the olympics consisted of only a few buildings. but one man and one event changed all of that. in 2001, ktvu's bob mackenzie told us the story of the squaw valley ski resort. >> reporter: in the 1930s and 40s only a few hard core skiers knew about a mayse called squaw valley. a pristine wilderness near lake
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tahoe. in 1946 a young mustered out gi named cushi th-rbgs g visited the place with his wife. his friends wouldn't let him go home he says because they needed four people to play bridge. while the others went skiing, cushing sat and looked at the valley. >> i sort of thought to myself, gosh suppose you could live out here or something like this. a beautiful valley that it is. subject to think about. i'm a city boy i was in the city. and there was a first time i ever came here. and simply because i had to be the fourth at bridge. >> reporter: today at the age of 88. adam cushing can look out his window at the ski resort he built from scratch. a very advance lift network, swimming pools, bars and restaurants at both the top and bottom of the restaurant. tennis courts, an ice rink, a
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ski school with 300 instructors, in short a recreational empire. but back in 1946 when cushing mentioned to his wife justine the idea of starting a ski resort. she thought he was crazy. still he kept thinking about squaw valley. >> i quit my job, i went all over the country and went to look at every ski area, and every ski area that was going to be built. once you start doing that you get interested. i had zero funds. >> reporter: but cushing did have enthusiasm. he raised some money, borrowed some, took on a partner and in 1949 opened the squaw valley ski area which consisted of a few buildings, a lot of plans
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and share lift with double chairs. the day the place opened, cushings company was broke but it had a foothold. in 1965 cushing got an idea that seemed crazy to others. he said he was going to try to bring the olympics to squaw valley. and they said but there's nothing there, cushing said that's the idea. >> if you can imagine what can be there. >> reporter: paying personal visits to each of the 50 members of the olympic committee. >> a tremendous amount of people thought they would give us a first round vote just to encourage us. >> reporter: the committee's first round of voting was the last round. squaw valley won by a landslide
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32-30. >> squaw valley california, the eighth winter olympic games. >> reporter: with television cameras rolling the world beheld squaw valley in all its glory. the facilities cushing was able to build were sparse. but he told them that it was great to have the athletes unone roof where they could get to know each other. the olympics were a hit with the folks in the stadium and folks watching on tv. >> the united states wins. >> it was in the height of the cold war. we had a wonderful picture of russian hockey player with his arms around an american hockey player and the russian hockey player giving him oxygen. that picture went out all over the world you know.
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it was such a great thing the voice of america, trying to get what america is like by radio. here these games we had 500 european correspondents come over here to really say what america is like. i mean there was, it was very -- it was a tremendous amount of fun, but it was -- it was just great that's all. >> cushing continues to be the man in charge and continues to build out his dream which includes a village with apartments and shops the units are sold out way before they're built. >> i had a wonderful time building this place. i love this place. but we are raging to keep on. i don't know how long it'll be but we are making arrangements for 2010, 2015 all kinds of
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things. so we'll see. i'm going to stick around and enjoy it for as long as i can. >> when we come back on a second look, the brave people who work to stop sierra avalanches. a bit later a young woman talks about surviving five days buried in the snow. well, well, well.
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growing up, we didn't have u-verse. we couldn't record four shows at the same time. in my day, you were lucky if you could record two shows. and if mom was recording her dumb show and dad was recording his dumb show then, by george, that's all we watched. and we liked it! today's kids got it so good. [ male announcer ] get u-verse tv with a total home dvr included free for life. only $29 a month for six months. rethink possible.
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every year people from
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around the bay area go to the sierra to play in the snow. and do pay little attention to a hazard that goes on there, avalanches. there are people who work to control the risk and they do it by actually creating avalanches on purpose. debora villalon introduces us to who woman who's jobs are dangerous. >> reporter: these two women are working to make the mountain safe for recreational skiers and snow boarders to do that they use dynamite. >> on three. one, two. >> if you hit the right spot, you hopefully have the
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avalanche stabilized by the impact of the dynamite. >> reporter: squaw valley has 350 avalanche potential spots. left alone they can bury a skier alive. when the dynamite doesn't work, they often ski right in the path of an avalanche to try to get it to slide. each of them spent three years learning how to do this so they know how to dive the tumbling snow. but they say it can still be scary. >> there's times when you're in a scary path and everything is locked up. things that normally slide aren't sliding and you're traversing under a very large
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avalanche slide and you think, oh boy, i hope the thing doesn't rip now. >> reporter: she says the most important thing she teaches her students is the best way to survive an avalanche is to avoid getting caught in one in the first place. >> you just try to get to the side. try to outrun it to the side. if you are in fact, swept off your feet, the most important thing to do is to fight. as you feel the debris start to slow down and set up. that's when you make your final effort to get one hand in front of your face, create an air pocket. >> lori knows firsthand what it feels like to be buried in an avalanche. she once spent 36 minutes under the snow during a search and rescue drill. lori and their team bury themselves in the snow several times a week to give their dogs
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an opportunity to search. >> after that 2-1/2 year, two year period depending on the dog and how quickly they are learning we put them through a test. and if they test they're certified. >> that's a good dog. >> they want to see them being very enthusiastic about their digs, barking, letting us know that they've picked up the scent. >> thank you, lilly what a good dog. >> reporter: lilly getting to play with a glove as a result of picking up lori's scent. but lori gets one last run and a few hours of sleep before it's time to start their sunrise patrol all over again. >> it's being in the elements, it's a lot of fun to play it. this woman found herself buried under the snow for five
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anna conrad is a survivor. 30 years ago she was caught in an avalanche at the alpines ski resort. a wall of snow came over the mountain and buried the resort. 10 people died. but anna survived buried in the snow as rescue workers frantically looked for her. bob mackenzie talked to anna about her ordeal. >> reporter: exhausted volunteers continued their search for victims of the previous day's disaster. an avalanche that had struck the alpine meadow ski resort crushing several buildings and buried at least eight people. after a night of freezing weather rescue workers were losing hope of finding anyone
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alive. >> a miracle. it would be a miracle. >> one person knew that there was a survivor but she could tell no one. that person was the survivor herself, anna conrad, a woman that at the moment this pictures were taken was buried in snow and rubble beneath this building known adds the summit building. she could not move her body and her voice could not carry over the snow. >> i spent a lot of time thinking about my boyfriend. i spent a lot of time thinking about my family and i spent a lot of time trying to get out of that hole. >> reporter: one by one the missing were found, but they were found dead. >> we're pulling people up. people found in our area. simply because the avalanche danger is at a level again where we don't want to have anybody up there. >> reporter: as a storm raged
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over the following days, anna conrad's friends waited. they had no way of knows she was alive or they at times had passed feet away from her. the weather clear, two people were still missing. >> we know where those people were. both were in the summit building. >> reporter: using dogs that might smell out survivors and metal rod to probe people below, the crews began. >> i heard them calling me, so that helped reenforce my belief. >> reporter: then the miracle. >> we have found anna conrad, she's alive. we have a helicopter flying in to bring her out along with a doctor. >> reporter: suffering from hipothermia, severe frostbite but very much align, anna was flown to a hospital in truckee. >> i was in no kind of pain. i had no idea what was
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happening around me at that point because i was just exstatic to be out of there. they felt my legs and they asked me if i could feel them feeling my legs and i had no feeling to my legs. it was the first shock i had. >> this is truly a miracle. she doesn't feel that it's such an unusual thing. she just ate snow and figured she would be rescued at some point. >> just thank god that miracles really do happen. >> with her overjoyed family around her anna was interviewed by ktvu's rita williams. >> i can move a little bit fortunately but not much. so i was having to live with yourself for a while. >> reporter: we hear that you were real close to being found yesterday. can you tell us something about that. >> well i guess it was friday they heard my -- they were coming through and they yelled my name and i answered them but either they couldn't hear me or they couldn't get through because of the problems with the avalanche. that's the only other time that
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was close. it was frustrating when they left after they talked to me and stuff. but understandable as long as they got through i was happy. >> what was it like today when they found you. >> fantastic. they're all friend every single one of them i knew. it was like seeing a bunch of people you knew. it was fantastic. >> i hear the probe was going through. >> i was going up to grab snow because i was seating snow. and he saw my hand and that's how they found me. the dog saw me first. >> did you ever give up hope? >> no, i knew they would be there. i was praying today, i knew they would come in. >> reporter: in her state of shock, anna hasn't yet taken in the fact that her boyfriend had died in the avalanche. or that she would have to make the decision of her leg and two
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toes on the other foot to be amputated. >> okay any time you're ready. >> but the courage to survive is the courage to overcome. a year after her accident, anna conrad was skiing again. and today she has a new home, a husband and job as ski safety coordinator for ski mammoth resort. her artificial leg has not slowed her down at all. >> when did you realize you were going to ski again. >> the day they told me i was going to lose my leg. i was shocked but then i thought about it and realized there was nothing i couldn't do. >> if somebody find themselves in a position like you. what would you tell them. >> never lose faith, i never lost

Second Look
FOX December 30, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PST

News/Business. Highlights of past news stories. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Cushing 7, Anna Conrad 5, Bob Mackenzie 3, Ktvu 3, California 2, Olympics 2, Anna 2, Lilly 2, Safeway App 1, Hipothermia 1, Italy 1, Truckee 1, Unone 1, Exstatic 1, Debora Villalon 1, Julie Haener 1, Adolph Hitler 1, Sally 1, Pillsbury Grands 1, Roosevelt 1
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